RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — An attendee of the 15th Fatah Revolutionary Council conference led by President Mahmoud Abbas told Ma’an Tuesday that the council will form an entirely new unity cabinet rather than pursuing efforts to reform the existing government.Abbas announced that the government would resign within the next 24 hours, several senior Fatah officials attending the conference told AFP, with the new government formation expected to be carried out in a matter of several days.The announcement comes as Palestinian leadership in the West Bank and Gaza Strip have struggled to maintain a unity government pieced together in June 2014.
The move materialized after the Fatah-led PLO and Hamas announced a national unity deal a few months prior intended to end seven years of political division between the largest two Palestinian parties.The division between Fatah and Hamas began in 2006, when Hamas won Palestinian legislative elections.In the following year, clashes erupted between Fatah and Hamas, leaving Hamas in control of the Strip and Fatah in control of parts of the occupied West Bank.While last year’s reconciliation aimed to pave the way for a general election by the end of 2014, an Israeli arrest campaign in the West Bank during early summer as well as a war between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip in July-August derailed the timeline.
Hamas has since blasted the Fatah-led PA in the West Bank for failing to follow through on promises to Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.Deputy head of Hamas Ismail Haniyeh said earlier this month that there had been no humanitarian or economic progress in the coastal enclave since the national consensus government was formed a year ago, referring to swathes of the strip that remain devastated from last summer’s war, as well the nearly one year that has passed since Gaza’s civil servants have received salaries.
Prime Minister Hamdallah pledged during a March visit to Gaza that Palestinian factions would “work fast” to find solutions to crises in Gaza, however the visit largely deteriorated into factional fighting.The failure of the unity government to address the needs of Gazans was addressed by the Revolutionary Council’s secretary general who told AFP prior to Tuesday’s meeting that the government would step down within 24 hours over its inability to act in the Gaza Strip.”The government will resign in the next 24 hours because this one is weak and there is no chance that Hamas will allow it to work in Gaza,” said secretary-general Amin Maqbul.But Ihab Bseiso, spokesman for the consensus government, told AFP he was unaware of the matter. “We had a meeting today and we didn’t discuss this issue,” he saidAs elections haven’t been held in the Palestinian territories since 2006, Tuesday’s decision to dissolve and reform the government is the latest of Abbas’ attempts to create a functioning unity government, in light of a year of setbacks.